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turkey has a very big, very capable army, but it wants to know if it's got the support from nato. what if assad starts targeting turkey with aircraft? >> that changes everything, nic robertson. thank you so much for joining me. thank you so much for watching. i'm sure wolf will be all over this and of course debate night in denver. "the situation room" begins now. brooke, thanks very much. happening now, we're counting down to tonight's presidential debate. mitt romney's motorcade just pulled up at the debate hall. president obama's expected to arrive in denver any minute as well. we'll be talking with top supporters of each candidate. the former new york city mayor rudy giuliani, he'll join us live this hour. also we'll be hearing from both candidates' wives in special cnn interviews. today, by the way, is the obama's 20th wedding anniversary. so what's it like spending the night with the romneys? i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room."
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34 days from the presidential election but much more importantly right now at least right now we've reached what may be the most decisive night of the 2012 campaign, the first presidential debate at the university of denver. after weeks of downplaying expectations, mitt romney's campaign insiders are finally opening up about what they really think can be accomplished tonight. cnn's national political correspondent jim acosta is in denver getting ready to set the scene. jim. >> reporter: wolf, the romney campaign sees the polls moving in their directions. one of the top priorities tonight is to maintain that trajectory. the romney campaign also says the gop nominee will not be looking to score a knockout tonight but will instead zero in on the president's handling of the economy. you can say that the romney game
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plan for tonight can be boiled down into two key phrases. do no harm and live to fight another day. just a few hours before one of the most important nights of his political life, mitt romney walked tough the debate site in denver prepped for his first one-on-one face-off with the president. campaign officials tell cnn romney's game plan tonight is to provide a clear choice, talk about his plan to create jobs and contrast that with the president's performance on the economy. and in a sign of caution, the campaign says romney won't be looking for a knockout punch. one of romney's top surrogates, florida senator marco rubio says that's the right approach. does mitt romney need to score a knockout punch? >> this is not an athletic competition. this is a debate between two money, one that is president and wants to stay there and one that wants to offer a new direction. >> reporter: all day long the romney campaign has signalled it will go after what it sees as another gaffe from vice president joe biden at a rally in charlotte. >> this is deadly earnest.
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how they can justify, how they can justify raising taxes on the middle class that's been buried the last four years. >> in the richest country in the history of the world this obama economy has crushed the middle class. >> reporter: romney's ad team quickly seized on the remarks churning out a web video. at an event in denver rubio piled on. >> those happen to be the words of the distinguished vice president of the united states mr. joe biden. no, don't boo. he's the best thing we got going, guys. don't boo. because in a moment of clarity, in a brief moment of clarity he just told us what we already knew. >> reporter: romney's aides say they expect the president to call on the gop nominee to offer specifics. >> we're going to limit deductions. >> reporter: but in an interview with the denver tv station, romney began to do just that. >> well, you could do something for instance as an option you
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could say everybody's going to get up to a $17,000 deduction. and you can use your charitable deduction or home mortgage deduction or others, health care deduction and you can fill that bucket. if you have a $17,000 bucket that way and higher income people might have a lower number. >> reporter: as for all of that talk about zingers, the romney campaign officials did not exactly say they have a fun one-liners ready to go for tonight. but they did say it won't be difficult to challenge the president's record on the economy. translation, wolf, we'll have to wait for tonight. >> the first time really he's spelling out some of those potential deductions, jim, that he has as far as of a tax plan. he hasn't really given us a lot of detail. are we expecting more details? which deductions, loopholes, exemptions might go away as he tries to lower taxes across the board? >> reporter: well, as you know, wolf, for months now he's been pressed for those specifics not only by the obama campaign but by reporters and he just hasn't offered those specifics as to how he would exactly pay for his
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tax plan with limiting those deductions. but that comment he made in that interview to that local tv station here in denver's about as close as he's come. romney campaign officials who i spoke with earlier today on a conference call did say they expect that question to come. so it's possible he will get into that tonight, wolf. >> we'll see if he does get into more specifics. a lot of people including plenty republicans have been asking him to do that. jim acosta's in denver. president obama's expected to land in denver this hour. and his campaign's still trying to spin some predebate expectations. but a new memo shows how the president intends to go after mitt romney. our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin is watching the president. she's in denver as well. what's going on from your vantage point, jessica? >> reporter: hi, wolf. yoknow, this is a tricky balancing act for a sitting president, but the campaign has already signalled that the president will not be shy about getting aggressive when it comes to one thing, pressing for details. the obama campaign's latest
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expectations game questioning whether romney will share enough specifics about his policy proposals. >> his details have been lacking throughout the course of the romney campaign. >> reporter: and preparing voters for the president to use every opportunity to press for them. >> the romney camp has made clear they plan to fact check the president during the debate. that's what mitt romney plans to do. how does the president counter that? >> you know, if mitt romney attacks the president and challenges him on the facts, i think you can expect the president to lay out some of the facts of his own policies but also mitt romney's policies. >> reporter: in a memo released the morning of the debate, the campaign spelled out five areas the president could call for more details tonight. on romney's plans for balancing the budget, small business growth, energy independence, improving schools and new trade agreements. wolf, we all know that likability in the end sometimes
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matters on these nights a lot more than even the details. wolf. >> jessica, what's the obama campaign saying about what jim acosta just reported that romney finally is giving some details as far as potential deductions that he would curtail? what are they saying about that? >> reporter: they're already pushing back against that new revealed detail saying that that doesn't even help the middle class, that it could even mean a tax increase for the middle class. in a blog post on what they call their truth telling website they say that "it would raise taxes for millions of middle class families." and it says in part "here's the problem, many families deduct more than $17,000 now." they say even on health care there's a more than $15,000 deduction. and then they go through more deductions. they say this could mean a tax increase for some families. wouldn't be surprised if that one comes up tonight, wolf. >> i think it probably almost certainly i should say will.
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you also interviewed the first lady michelle obama. what did she tell you about what it's like for her out there on the campaign trail? >> reporter: you know, i asked her about ann romney's claim when ann romney pressed back about her own husband's critics and ann romney said campaigning is hard. i said does she share that sentiment. here was mrs. obama's response. >> ann romney recently said about the critics of her husband -- to her husband's critics that running for president is hard. do you sympathize with that? >> you know, the campaign experience is unique for everyone. everyone comes to this and experiences it differently. for me i really enjoy campaigning. i think barack and i we both get energy from it because when you live in washington, sometimes you get isolated from the rest of the country. and this is a time when we get out and we can remember just how
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decent people are. i come across people i don't care what political party they come from, they are hopeful. they're happy to see you. they're willing to listen. and it's good to be reminded of that. when you get out on the campaign trail. so i get energy from it. and i always have. and i've always said that. it's, you know, i never thought, you know a few years ago that i would enjoy it this much. but i really do. and i've had this -- then i can hang out with my brother. he's a pretty good asset too out there. >> reporter: wolf, mrs. obama was in nevada today in reno for a campaign event and she wished her husband a happy anniversary from there. today is their 20th wedding anniversary. she has not yet seen her husband today. wolf. >> she will see him later. a lot of people have been pointing out, i think you are the first one pointing out they'll be double dating with the romneys on their 20th wedding anniversary. good line, jessica.
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thanks very much. by the way, gloria borger interviewed ann romney. we're going to show you some of that interview. that's coming up here in "the situation room" as well. the full both of these interviews will air later tonight during our coverage leading up to the presidential debate in denver. and stay with us for debate night in america. we've brought together the full resources of cnn to analyze the candidates' performances, fact check their answers, follow the reaction of undecided voters in the host state of colorado. our special coverage begins right after "the situation room," 7:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. our new poll shows voters have very definite ideas about who they expect will win the debate tonight. we're going to ask one of mitt romney's top supporters, former new york city mayor rudy giuliani, what his candidate needs to do. i love to eat. i love hanging out with my friends.
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the former new york city major rudy giuliani certainly knows what it's like under the
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hot lights of a presidential debate. four years ago he faced off with republicans including mitt romney for the presidential nomination. rudy giuliani's joining us now from denver. he's there. he supports mitt romney, obviously. thanks very much, mayor, for coming in. >> nice to be with you, wolf. >> a lot of us remember some of the debates four almost five years ago, you were involved, you were running for the republican nomination. i went back and checked and there was this exchange -- it was a tough exchange you had at that cnn youtube debate back in 2007. it was in st. petersburg, florida. i want to play this clip. >> you hear someone with a funny accent, you as a homeowner is suggesting you go out and ask for their papers. >> if you are going to -- if you are going to take -- >> let him respond and we have to move on.
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>> if you're going to take this holier than thou attitude, you are perfect on immigration. >> i'm not perfect. >> it just so happens you have a special immigration problem that nobody else here has. you are employing illegal immigrants. that is a pretty serious thing. they were under your nose. >> all right. a lot of us remember that exchange. i'm sure you remember it well. what's it like debating mitt romney from your perspective? >> well, he's very good. he's very much up on his facts. i think tonight he's going to make a very powerful case that our economy under barack obama has been a disaster. the longest term unemployment we've had since the great depression. and i think the real question of whether he wins it or not is whether he lays out a really strong program for changing that. how being pro-business is being pro-jobs whereas president obama's been anti-business and
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pro-distribution of wealth. and it's destroying our economy. >> so from your perspective someone who's actually gone head-to-head in these republican debates against him, what's his biggest strength and what's his biggest weakness? >> his biggest strength is also his biggest weakness. he's very logical. he's very straightforward. he lays out his case in a very business like, lawyer like way. and i think where he's going to have to add to that is personality. some emotion and some feeling or some fun like we always remember from ronald reagan. there you go again. i'm not going to use the age issue against you. just a little thing like that can make you human. >> just show a little bit more personality. i take it that's what you're saying. he's got the facts. he's got the background, the skill, but has to show more personality. is that right? >> yeah. on the facts, on the logic, he's going to be powerful. and the second part is the part
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people are waiting for, they're looking for. and i think he can accomplish it. and i think if he does, he will then win the debate in a bigger sense. >> how did you prepare for these debates against him? >> well, of course it wasn't just against him it was against as you remember because you moderated some, it was eight, ten people. it was really -- part of what you saw there was everybody was fighting for time. they're not going to have that problem. they're all going to have an equal amount of time. you're not going to see as much personal interchange with people kind of breaking into each other to try to get some time. you're prepared by hours and hours of going over the facts, going over the questions, having somebody play you, the moderator. ask the questions they're going to ask us and kind of go over it. and could have prided yourself hopefully on anticipating everything. and if you didn't, your whole staff felt very disappointed. >> in this particular case, the person you're debating is the president of the united states, the commander in chief.
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that's a special debate as far as the challenger is concerned because you have to show a lot of respect to the commander in chief. >> absolutely. this has to be one where you show barack obama respect as the president, respect as a man that people like and admire as a good man. at the same time you got to be able to very powerfully show that the president has not been a good president. he's a good man but has been a bad president. whether you're talking about the economy, what happened in libya and the lack of preparation for that. so it is a delicate road to kind of walk down. got to make a very powerful case against him. at the same time you have to respect him. on the other hand just standing up there with the president of the united states being next to him, if you fight him to a draw, you'll probably win because now you're on the same stage as the president, the same level with him. and the president has his own challenges also. >> i'm told by some of the president's supporters some of his advisor ifs he goes after romney, and i'm sure he will, it will be in part the flip-flops over the years. something you're familiar with.
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i'm going to play a clip. this is what you said on msnbc about mitt romney in december of last year. >> i have never seen a guy, and i've run a lot of elections, supported a lot of people, never seen a guy change his positions on so many things so fast on a dime. everything. >> all right. so when the president goes after him as a flip-flopper, how does he respond to that charge? and you made that charge directly against him. >> i did. the best way to respond is to go to the president's flip-flops. the promises the president made he didn't keep, he was going to close guantanamo. he didn't close guantanamo. he was against mandates when he debated hillary clinton. he then enacted the biggest mandate in the history of the country. so i think the best way -- what i would suggest is don't go on defense. everybody in politics has these change positions. so you go after the president for some of those really dramatic flip-flops that he's had just like everybody else. >> rudy giuliani, the former mayor of new york, he's in
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denver helping the romney campaign get ready for a huge night, debate night in america. mr. mayor, thanks for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. take care. >> thank you. and just ahead here in "the situation room," we're going to hear from the other side, stephanie cutter, the deputy cap pain manager for barack obama, she's going to join us live from denver as well. that's coming up later. our new poll shows voters have very definite ideas about who they expect will win tonight. gloria borger is standing by. she's got the numbers. [ woman ] it's 32 minutes to go time, and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over the district. the writer's desktop and the coordinator's phone are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters.
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all right. these are live pictures the presidential motorcade arriving at the university of denver. you saw the presidential limo. both of the candidates will be walking around checking out the podium, making sure they feel comfortable. they'll be standing there for 90 minutes answering questions and debating some of the most important economic issues, domestic issues of the day in this the first presidential debate. a brand new cnn/orc poll by the way shows most voters expect president obama to be tonight's big winner. 56% of likely voters out there think the president will do a better job in the debates. only 32% say mitt romney will do a better job. that low number may be mitt romney's big opportunity though. let's discuss with our chief political analyst gloria borger. are these debates, gloria, always harder for incumbents? >> i think it is. you look at the expectation game. people understand that president obama is a great speaker,
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they've seen him do other debates in the past. and they kind of remember them and think he's the sitting president, he'll do a better job. so he's got expectations running against him. then the other thing for the challenger is remember, wolf, this is really the first time that mitt romney and barack obama will be at the same level. so just by showing up to a certain degree mitt romney gets elevated standing on the same stage with the president. and here's another thing about the president, he has to defend his record without seeming to be defensive about it. and that's, you know, that's not an easy thing to accomplish. so he's got a big job tonight. >> mitt romney's got a huge job as well. what do you expect he will try to do? >> well, i've been talking to some senior romney advisors this past week. one advisor said to me there are three things, three kinds of people we need to talk to, three ds he calls it, the dissatisfied, disem pointed and
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disenchanted with barack obama, number one. and that what mitt romney has to do is convince people that four years from now a mitt romney presidency will be better for their personal lives. they understand on the likability question of which the president beats mitt romney so handily, they're not about to convince all these people suddenly to turn around and say, oh, we like mitt romney more than we like president obama. what they're going to try and do is say you like him enough and he can do the job and he's better able to fix things. so he's not going to try and be bill clinton here, i feel your pain. but what he's going to try to do is say i'm focused on your concerns. >> can a debate like tonight's debate really change the direction of this campaign? >> i think it can accelerate or decrease momentum one way or another. and i went back and looked at 2004 for example when you had john kerry and george bush.
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in sort of late september bush was ahead of kerry by about seven points. after the first debate it was a two-point margin because john kerry did very well. then george w. bush came back and did better at the next debate. but he did narrow the gap after that first debate. and in a race that's as closes a this, wolf, that could make all the difference. >> very close in florida and virginia, for example and a debate tonight could impact the undecided voters. thanks, gloria. >> uh-huh. you want to talk about the trial of the century, it could have happened if the raid in pakistan had unfolded differently. and a woman who came close to death in portland, maine's harbor can thank her lucky stars for some alert bystanders ready to help her. everyone has goals.
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a new book reveals if u.s. navy seals had captured osama bin laden, president obama would have put him on trial in a civilian court rather than in front of a military tribunal. vanity fair's excerpts from the new book entitled "the finish" he says the president told him and i'm quoting now "my belief was if we captured him i would be in a pretty strong position politically here to argue that due process and rule of law would be or best weapon of al qaeda in preventing him from appearing as a martyr. a direct quote from the president in this new book. lisa sylvester's monitoring some of the top stories in "the situation room" right now. >> hi, wolf. turkey struck back at syria after a cross-border mortar strike. the office of the turkish prime minister says "points in syria have been hit by artillery
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fire." a mortar strike killed five people near the border. a nato meeting is underway now and it comes on the same day that three car bombs hit a popular square in aleppo, syria's biggest city. at least 40 people were killed in that strike. that city has become the epicenter of the battle between rebels and the forces of president bashar al assad. and a home burglary has left a denver man without the last photographs taken of his 6-year-old granddaughter, a victim of the aurora theater shootings. this is one picture of the youngest of the 12 people killed at the movie theater in july. the denver post reports that robert sullivan lost four cameras in the burglary and one of those cameras contained a memory card with the last photos ever taken of veronica. her mother was wounded in the shooting and is still recovering. and an 84-year-old woman is alive today because of the heroism of the bystanders in portland, maine. urs la nixon broke her leg after she crashed her car into the harbor.
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several people you see in the pictures there they jumped into the water as the car slowly sank below the surface. nix nixon's family says she faces weeks of recovery but she's grateful to her rescuers. looked like about five people or so there, wolf, jumped in that water. i'm sure that water wasn't very warm either talking portland, maine. >> they saved her. good for them, good for her. gloria borger sat down with ann romney. but first, our unsolicited advice panel is standing by. they're going to preview some key questions you're going to want to listen for in tonight's debate. [ female announcer ] what does the anti-aging power
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moderator, jim lehrer, knows for sure what questions will be asked. he's getting plenty of advice. just take a look at this snapshot. >> question today, what would you ask the candidates in tonight's debate? >> one of the questions we know is going to be front and center each candidate whether or not the voters actually trust them in handling the economy. >> where'd the money go? who's got the money? who's got my money? and what about a little health care? >> two words, obama care and romney care. >> are you better off than you were three and a half years ago? is the world safer? do you think we're going in the right direction? >> a lot of that, charlie, depends on the questions. >> let's get straight to our cnn contributor margaret hoover and the rest of our unsolicited advice panel. margaret. >> thanks a lot, wolf. here we are, we've got a debate tonight. we have six 15-minute segments on the economy. carly, we were talking before in the green room. you think your question would be about taxes. what would you ask the governor or the president? >> well, first of all governor romney has been attacked with these ridiculous and clearly
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untrue ads from the obama campaign that he's going to raise taxes on the middle class. that's clearly false. i think governor romney needs to lay out what his tax plan truly is and why it's going to help everyone in america from job creators to middle class families. i think he needs to be very clear and explicit about that tonight. >> well, i mean, you say it's clearly false. i mean, there's obviously a big debate about it. as best i can tell the math doesn't work. we've gone from fuzzy math to no math in american politics. i want to hear what he has to say, but i think the big question that neither candidates's really answered is about the housing crisis. we have a third of american homes under water right now. romney says they should just all go into foreclosure, that seems to be a bad idea. obama hasn't fixed it. i want to hear the bread and butter issues being talked about. i haven't heard enough about the housing crisis. >> so what's the question? >> what are you going to do about the fact fannie mae and
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freddie mac right now could cut the principle and you would put enough money back into the economy to create about a million jobs, but it's not happening. >> i mean, i think that's a really good question. i think the bigger question for president obama in particular is why hasn't the recovery lived up to your expectations? right. because the narrative from the white house is we inherited this me mess, we're heading in the right direction. that's a fair narrative. but if you look back at the white house's own projections, they've repeatedly said things expecting like 3% or 4% vote and i think -- what's president obama's theory of the case? what's his theory of what's gone wrong? it's not enough to say we're headed in the right direction if we're going so slowly. >> so i'm jim lehrer and i'm going to suspend the rules and give you a bit more time, mitt
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romney. >> you're just going to hijack -- >> that's just what i think of when i think of jim lehrer, that kind of boldness. >> i'm going to give you extra time because no one's been able to explain the ryan budget. in fact, when ryan talked about it, well, we don't have enough time. >> it's a little like nancy pelosi we've got to pass it if we want to know. >> you said this yesterday, governor, if you get too specific, you end up compromising, selling out or showing your cards before you get into office. on the other side we all know paul ryan can do the math and he can spend the whole 90 minutes talking about -- >> of course paul ryan isn't the candidate for president. >> paul ryan will get his chance. >> if you endorsed budget, please explain to us how that works. >> well, at least there's a budget. >> he was for and then against it. >> so how should romney answer? our debate all this week has been your argument is he should avoid substance at all costs.
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so how should romney answer her question then? >> the good news is that the rules don't allow him to speak more than a few seconds. >> actually, two minutes i think. >> so move on to the next issue, the next issue. we're looking for details. you are not going to get details tonight. >> let's be clear, there's 15-minute segments. they have two minutes to respond to the question and then jim lehrer's going to narrate the back and forth. there should be enough time. >> one thing i want to say though is that this is going to be for a bunch of young americans their first chance to vote. a lot of the young americans didn't watch the conventions, they had summer vacation. now they're going to be tuning in. what i think they should be talking about is what are they going to do for young people? we have a jobs crisis in this country. we have kids graduating off a cliff every spring with no jobs, huge debt. and romney unfortunately when he was governor of massachusetts actually devastated financial aid for young people trying to go to college. college went up 65%, cost of college 65% under romney as
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governor, tuition help went down. those -- >> well, college costs have gone up 25% under president obama. what i find so interesting about all the conversation about ryan's budget i hope that jim lehrer and all the media who are watching and commenting on this debate expect the same level of specificity from president obama that they asked for from governor romney because president obama has failed to deliver a single budget. >> right. >> in four years. it's unbelievable actually. so forget the ryan budget. what's the obama budget? >> after lehrer asks your hypothetical he should play a clip of paul ryan in conversation with timothy geithner, secretary of the treasury. they had this great back and forth where geithner basically said, well, we know we don't like your plan. and we don't really have a plan of our own. and that's the difficulty the president's in, right? he can attack the ry budget all he wants, but those kids you're talking about they're graduating with a big overhang of, you know, debt and deficits as well to pay off down the road. >> and unemployment levels are
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at historic highs among youth today. >> the problem romney has is he says if i'm elected president i will do the following things. the problem is when he was governor he actually raised the debt to the highest level per capita at any place in america. he increased tuition. and he increased taxes. those aren't the things he's saying on the campaign trail. that's just what he did as governor. >> so here's the thing i would say to you, governor. if governor romney's track record is relevant, then president obama's track record is relevant. and under president obama the debt has gone to $16 trillion -- he has racked up under his presidency more debt in a single term than every president combined before him. >> that was true with reagan, carter, nixon. >> you have to sit and deal with that track record. >> one other issue we haven't talked about yet, one of these 15-minute segments is going to be about health care. what is the question for mitt romney? i think he should double down and just explain the difference between romney care and obama care. he should own it. >> good luck with that.
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there's no difference. >> that's not true. for one, his was passed with a bipartisan historic majority. >> and there was no difference between that proposal and what obama did. the difference the republican party refuse today cooperate. >> massive difference. >> there are huge differences. >> there's actually massive differences. >> i think the thing romney has to do there though is actually explain what republicans would do about the uninsured. i think this is the big weakness in the republican case throughout the health care debate. they've launched all kinds of fairly effective critiques of obama care. i'm sure we'll hear the same from romney again. the weakness of the republican party on this issue has always been not the repeal part but the replace part. if romney wants to make a real difference, he needs to actually have something -- >> why do they want to repeal it? they're literally the same thing. and the heritage foundation -- this was a conservative -- >> they're not, van. one has an individual mandate, one doesn't in the same form. >> but the individual mandate was in fact the conservative idea that we wouldn't have this big government, we would have
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individual responsibility. suddenly republicans say, oh, individual responsibility from obama, no. that's socialism. we want to be the pro-moocher party. just go into the emergency room and let the government pay for it. >> come on. come on. >> obama adopting a republican idea. >> in general though i think the idea that this was a republican idea, this was an idea that a couple think tankers put forward, a few republican politicians latched onto. it wasn't an idea that republicans as a whole had rallied behind. and i think you're right, van, there's a whole in the republican narrative. there isn't a republican alternative. that's not the same thing as saying the president's bill is just what reasonable -- >> okay. hold that thought. we're going to get to unsolicited advice next. we'll be back in a second. don't go away. more next. now, that's what i call a test drive. silverado! the most dependable, longest lasting, full-size pickups on the road. so, what do you think? [ engine revs ] i'll take it. [ male announcer ] it's chevy truck month.
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welcome back to unsolicited advice. here we are with a little bit more for you. i'm going to go to governor schweitzer first. you have some unsolicited advice for karl rove. >> and the american cross roads. he's been collecting hundreds of millions of dollars of dirty secret money from all over the world, corporations and private individuals. and mary matalin famously said during the george h. bush race, if you're not still supporting george h. when the ship started sinking, i'm saying ta karl rove, stay on the ship. it's got a hole in the side. it's sinking into the ocean. don't spend that money on my friend. don't spend it against sharon brown. >> somewhere in this picture insincerity. >> go to the bottom of the ocean with the dirty secret money. >> why is it dirty secret when
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it goes to karl rove but it isn't when it goes to the obama pacs? what's the difference? >> about 100 fold. >> so you only call it dirty secret ifit's more money. >> in all sincerity i agree with you. i think that this race is still sufficiently close at the national level. and we'll see what happens tonight. obviously it could be a game changer in one direction or another. but i think it would be faolly for groups like that to bail. >> it's bipartisanship. >> the captain of the titanic, ride it down. >> yesterday unsolicited advice was for jenny mccarthy. >> i'm going to go to something more serious, to my fellow conservatives. please stop getting excited about secret maybe not so secret videos of president obama saying things before he was elected president of the united states. you saw this on fox news last
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night. a video of president obama giving a speech to a group of black ministers in which he engaged in some pandering, adopted stronger african-american accent. the problem is he's already been elected president. you can't argue against obama saying don't vote for him, he has a secret plan to destroy america. he's been president for four years. quite seriously, you have to run against the obama record. you can't convince americans that there's something more to be frightened of in an obama second term than they already saw when he had 60 votes in the senate. >> i think when conservatives do that and certainly that videotape was so hyped and then there really wasn't much in it. it really takes away the credibility from the conservative argument. what conservatives ought to be spending all of their time on is why our ideas work better to lift people out of poverty, to grow jobs to make this country stronger and better. that's what conservatives should spebd their spends their time on. not president obama talking to a church. news flash. >> news flash.
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obama's a black guy. oh, my god. >> it's a game changer. >> and how are you going to take more credibility away from fox news? how is that possibility? >> okay. van jones, what is your unsolicited advice? >> i have an unsolicited piece of advice for a liberal. we can talk about the debate and have a chance to talk about it, my advice is for a fellow democratic governor of yours, jerry brown. decide which side you're on in the war against women. we have a democratic liberal governor who had the opportunity to extend a helping hand to domestic workers in california, new york state passed a law saying if you're a domestic worker, you're taking care of children, changing diapers, keeping elderly alive, you deserve some basic rights. new york state did that. california overwhelmingly passed that and jerry brown vetoed it. now, listen, democrats can't get so comfortable and cozy that we've got the latino locked up, we've got the women locked up we can then throw latina women over
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whelmingly the domestic workers under the bus. jerry brown should not have vetoed that bill. it's democrats taking advantage of the fact that right now latinos and women don't feel they can go to the republican party. the sickness in the republican party on these issues is -- jerry brown should be ashamed of himself. >> don't you think that's a broader pattern in the democratic party? >> it could be. >> you have social issues a lot of places are trumping economic issues. even in new york andrew cuomo maybe signed the bill you're describing, but when cuomo wants to shore up his base, he does gaye marriage and when he wants to come to the marriage, this is something economic liberals should be concerned about that social liberalism is sort of the only liberalism that really matters. >> and i'm delighted that van brought jerry brown up. one, i think van is right. the democratic party does take advantage of its constituencies. i would argue it's taken advantage of latinos for a long time. president obama could have put comprehensive immigration reform forward when he had the house and senate. he failed to do so. so now he does a little dream
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act right before he gets elected. it's unblooechbl. however, my unsolicited advice. >> good, we have about 30 seconds. >> nancy pelosi and harry reid. harry hopes to stay in majority, nancy wants to be leader. she was on wolf blitzer's show yesterday. i hope they're not leaders, but you cannot govern through half truths, innuendo and half-baked charges. harry reid stood in the well of the senate and charged that mitt romney had not paid taxes for ten years. demonstrably false. and nancy pelosi said when security in libya came up, she threw an innuendo that the congress didn't give all the money they asked for. another grenade tossed in the middle. you cannot govern through half truth and innuendo. that's what harry reid and nancy
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pelosi seem to major on. >> there we got it. that's our panel. that's our unsolicited advice for the afternoon. thanks very much for being with us. we look forward to the debate tonight. margaret, thanks very much. ahead we're going to hear from two of the top advocates for mitt romney and barack obama setting the stage for tonight's presidential debate. and mitt romney has no backer as passionate about his potential than his wife, ann. just ahead in an exclusive national interview she talks to cnn's gloria borger about the hard road to the white house. that's 3 moves, 5 jobs, 2 newborns. it's no wonder i'm getting gray. but kate -- still looks like...kate. with nice'n easy, all they see is you -- in one simple step, nice'n easy with colorblend technology, gives expert highlights and lowlights. for color that's perfectly true to you. i don't know all her secrets, but i do know kate's more beautiful now, than the day i married her. with the expert highlights and lowlights of nice 'n easy, all they see is you. is an awesome place to be.
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...and we inspected his brakes for free. -free is good. -free is very good. [ male announcer ] now get 50% off brake pads and shoes at meineke. earlier we brought you part of jessica yellin's interview with the first lady michelle obama. now an exclusive national interview with ann romney. cnn's gloria borger spoke with
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her about the election. >> you recently responded to campaign critics, you said stop it, this is hard. you want to try it? get in the ring. you seemed really upset by that. >> well, you know, there's always days when you just go, you know, everyone's a critic and you just go if you really understood what you're up against when you do run for president, it's a very difficult thing. and as you know, gloria, i said last time i would never do this again. and that's part of the reason. i mean, it's really hard for a family member, a person that loves this person you see going through these difficulties and just know how tough it is on that person that you love. and so for me it comes out of a compassion for mitt and a compassion and passion for how important this election is and how important that people really figure out what they should be thinking about when they go in that voting booth. they should be thinking about have the past four years been good? do you expect the economy to get
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better under this president? or do you think it's going to just go on as it has been just dribbling along? doesn't need to be that way. i want people to think if they vote for mitt, they know they're going to get better economic solutions. they're going to get leadership. they're going to get someone that cares. and they're going to get this country moving again. >> and we're going to have a lot more of our interviews with ann romney and first lady michelle obama later tonight starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern only here on cnn. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, a very dramatic and ominous development in the middle east. a key u.s. ally is drawn into a cross-border clash with syria. we're also counting down to the first debate between president obama and governor mitt romney. why tonight's showdown in denver may be so critical to their hopes for november. and we'll also hear from both sides. and why a fiery speech by president obama is setting off media fireworks five years
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later. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're counting down to the crucial first debate between barack obama and mitt romney. our live coverage begins in two hours. much more on that just ahead. but right now there's breaking news we're following. the united states is closely watching the latest developments in the middle east where the nato ally, turkey, has fired on targets inside syria after the deadly shelling of a turkish border town. cnn senior international correspondent ivan watson is joining us on the phone now from istanbul. it's not every day, ivan, that a nato ally, in this particular
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case turkey, is drawn into potentially another war with a neighbor, syria, what happened? >> reporter: well, in the afternoon on wednesday mortars crashed into a turkish border town. we've talked to eyewitnesses there, local officials. they say a mother, her three children and a female neighbor were killed by mortars fired from the syrian side of the border. and that town is repeatedly been hit by syrian artillery over the last couple of weeks. the turks have even launched formal complaints about that. but this is the first time there have been fatalities, wolf. and now within the last hour or so the turkish government announced that it retaliated firing artillery at targets inside syria using radar to pinpoint those targets. key questions here, wolf, are how many rounds of artillery were fired? what were the targets? how extensive was this? was this mainly a show of force?
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or were the turks trying to do some harm against syrian military forces in response to the loss of five turkish citizen sns. >> as you know, ivan, an attack on one nato ally, in this case turkey, is an attack on all nato allies including the united states. and nato issued a statement saying it stands by turkey. tell us more about what's at stake in this incident right now. >> reporter: well, the turks immediately started rallying their allies reaching out to u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton, to the french government, to nato, to the u.n. special envoy to syria. and nato held emergency talks specifically on this issue at their headquarters in brussels. they were invoked under article iv saying any one ally in the military alliance can hold consultations if there's a threat to one of their security. a big question will be what will happen after this. this is the first exchange of
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fire really that we've heard about. but it's important to note syrian anti-aircraft defenses shot down a turkish military reconnaissance jet last june killing two pilots. the turks were of course furious. all their allies condemned this, but we didn't really see any steps taken in the immediate aftermath of that. the turks are now saying that they will respond to any type of provocation. it will be important to see whether or not more military steps will be taken by the turks. and we're getting reports that they're going to be addressing this very security issue with the syrians at a meeting of the turkish parliament on thursday morning. >> and i'm sure there's intense conversations going on between turkish authorities and nato allies including the united states. ivan, standby, we'll stay on top of this breaking news story for our viewers. meanwhile, here in the united states there's a lot riding on tonight's first presidential debate including just maybe, maybe the
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presidency. our coverage starts in a little bit less than two hours from now. president obama and governor romney have been preparing intensively for this showdown. just a short while ago they made their walk throughs over at the university of denver's hamilton gymnasium. neither took time for usual campaign activities. but bill clinton was out on the campaign trail today. listen to this. >> i couldn't believe the other day when the president's opponent said the 47% of the american people who don't pay income tax just want to hang around and be dependent on the government. you know, we just had to wean them off of that. let me tell you who those 47% are. a lot of them are college students who are adults but don't have income. a lot of them are seniors who have depleted their assets. and especially if they're living in nursing homes and getting
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medicaid to help pay for it. most of them are families who work. >> tough words from the former president. let's begin this hour with our chief political correspondent candy crowley, the anchor of cnn's "state of the union." candy, what do you make of this bill clinton out there aggressively on this particular day campaigning for the re-election of president obama? >> i make of it that any time the obama campaign is told by bill clinton that he's available, they put him out there. i think one of the things that came crystal clear when we were covering the democratic convention is that bill clinton is still the best politician of his generation and maybe even this generation. a lot of talk then about how he explained president obama's case a lot better than president obama. president obama very eloquent. he can give a great speech. but when you want to explain stuff, you want to talk to folks and have them get it. and win you on their side. there's no one like bill
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clinton. and when it's like all hands on deck, that's the biggest hand of all is to put bill clinton out there. and they will use him whenever he's available. >> whenever they can. good point, candy. by campaign accounts, romney and president obama, they doept know each other very well, obviously. we're told they've actually only met face-to-face three times over all of these years. so here's the question, what role will that play in tonight's 90-minute debate? >> you know, i was saying about this in some ways i think it makes it easier to go after one another. if you know a person and you've gotten to, you know, see them and maybe chitchat and have some casual talk with them and kind of know them as a person, it becomes pretty difficult to be really aggressive going after them. i think certainly that's something that mitt romney has to do with some nuance to be sure because we are talking about the president of the united states and people are naturally protective of the president. so i think there is no love lost either. and i think that's the more important thing what we know is
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privately neither guy seems to have a whole lot of respect for the other one. so i think that comes into play. and what they have to guard against certainly what the president has to guard against is looking too dismissive. looking like i'm the president, why are you bothering me? that sort of thing. what mitt romney has to guard against is sort of looking as though he doesn't respect the presidency. so i think it makes it difficult because they don't know each other and they don't have that natural instinct to step back and do the nuance thing. i imagine they're pretty well prepared and both will be able to handle it. >> we'll check in with candy obviously throughout the night. candy, thanks very much. it's still the economy with so many americans struggling. that issue remains the top issue for voters out there. and it should be the dominant theme in tonight's debate as well. our chief national correspondent john king is here watching what's going on. john, you've been taking a very close look at how the economy will play out in tonight's debate. >> hi, wolf. in the format you mentioned will dominate the debate. three segments dedicated solely
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to the economy. one on health care, both candidates say that's about the economy. their style of governing and how they view the role of government. let's take a look at the state of play during the obama presidency. explain the map, dark green, unemployment went down a lot in the obama presidency. went up a lot in new york, that's not a battleground stalt, but it went up a lot in nevada. that is a big battleground state. went down a decent amount in ohio. another battleground state. the candidates of course will be speaking to the neigh, but they know this race is playing out in six, eight, maybe nine battleground states. take a closer look as the candidates talk about the economy tonight in florida, iowa, ohio, virginia and wisconsin the unemployment rate has dropped during the obama presidency. no surprise if you look at the recent polls, the president is ahead. some by a bit, some states narrowly, some states bigger. but the president ahead in all of these battleground states where the unemployment rate has dropped during his presidency. the debate tonight is in one of
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the fiercest fought battles right now, the state of colorado. it happens to be one ot battleground states where the unemployment has gone up. in colorado and nevada it's gone up. no coincidence they are among the tightest and competitive battleground states. essentially flat in new hampshire and north carolina. new hampshire where you saw bill clinton campaigning today. reservoir from '92 and '96 there. north carolina flat. wolf, what is the defining challenge? ed defining challenge is especially for the challenger. dp mitt romney is to convince the american people to change drivers, if you will, to change the man at the head of the economy, he has to convince people he would have a better plan. and ends the debate with a tie. when voters asked who would better handle the economy, it's a tie essentially. wolf, you talk to anyone in the romney campaign, any smart republican strategist and any democrat they will tell you governor romney needs to change this dynamic. come out ahead on this question. who would better handle the economy. they think he needs to do it tonight to shift the race in his favor. >> we'll see how he does, john.
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how does the president though stack up to past incumbents seeking re-election? >> when you look at these numbers that's whoo you have to say forget anybody. pay no attention to anybody who tells you this race is over. because sometimes historical trends take hold. let's look at these back through the years. this is 1992. george h.w. bush was running for re-election. look at this. he actually had pretty decent, gdp, first quarter, second kwarder, third quarter of the election year. the strength of the u.s. economy. george h.w. bush had good growth. he lost the election because bill clinton and ross perot convinced people the economy was struggling. this race this year looks a little bit like 2004. george w. bush had very struggling numbers. not so strong, decent third quarter, decent third quarter helped president bush heading into his re-election campaign. look how weak growth has been in this election year in the obama presidency? well below even what it was in 2004 for george w. bush and the second quarter drops more.
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very anemic growth. we don't know the third quarter numbers. we'll get those before the election. president obama we know he's trying to do something no one's done with fdr, win with the unemployment rate above 7.2%. look at gdp numbers to win, it would be a bit of history. >> certainly would be. john, thanks very much. we're going to have much more coverage, full coverage of tonight's debate president obama and governor romney face-to-face as american voters weigh their choice. the first presidential debate takes place tonight. you can watch it live. our coverage begins 7:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn and on cnn.com. a fiery speech by then-senator barack obama sets off some media fireworks five years later. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] you've been years in the making. and there are many years ahead. join the millions of members who've chosen
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so what might the obama-romney presidential contest still have in store for us? jack cafferty's following that in the cafferty file. >> wolf, if it's october and presidential election year, then
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it's about time if a so-called october surprise. which means any late-breaking event that can suddenly change the outcome of the race, for example 12 days before the 1972 presidential election henry kissen jer made a major announcement about the vietnam war saying "we believe peace is athand." this likely helped the incumbent richard nixon go onto win every state except massachusetts. the most famous october surprise was one that never happened. in 1980 republicans were worried then-president jimmy carter would be boosted in his re-election bid by either a rescue or release of the american hostages in iran. that didn't happen. and ronald reagan won that election in a landslide. more recently osama bin laden released a video four days before the 2004 election, remember? that reminder of the 9/11 attacks probably helped george w. bush win a second term. 2008 the financial meltdown technically that started in september with the collapse of lehman brothers, but it was a moment that boosted barack obama
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and highlighted john mccain's weakness when it came to the economy. so what about this year 2012? that old video of an angry speech with racial overtones by then candidate obama which resurfaced last night could sway some voters. or maybe the surpriseis still lurking out there somewhere. tonight's debate has the potential to provide one. there's always a chance for significant economic news, jobs report, the potential for the u.s. to go off that well-talked about fiscal cliff. and it's not hard to imagine some unexpected event in the middle east, take your pick, iran, israel, syria, libya. here's the question, what will be the october surprise in this year's presidential election? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, post a comment on my blog. or go to our post on "the situation room" facebook page. trick or treat, wolf. >> yeah. october surprise, i suspect there will be at least one or two big ones coming up. >> probably. >> yep. thank you. let's get more now on that video that jack just mentioned
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five years ago. five years ago during his first presidential campaign then-senator barack obama made a fiery speech. now suddenly it's setting off some media fireworks amongst conservatives out there. brian todd is taking a closer look at what's going on. what is going on? >> as you said, conservative media outlets jumping all over this right now. it seems they may be trying to point to this as the barack obama version of the romney 47% remarks. we dug into that to see if it's true. on the eve of the first presidential debate conservative media billed it as a bombshell on tv. >> tonight you will hear from barack obama like you have never heard from him before. >> hannity played several clips from a speech then-candidate barack obama gave at predominantly black campus. here's where he's going off prepared remarks talking about how he says victims of katrina
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got shortchanged by the bush administration. >> what happened down in new orleans? where's your dollar? makes no sense. tells me the bullet hasn't been taken out. tells me that somehow the people down in new orleans, they don't care about as much. >> hannity then played this clip. >> we don't need to build more highways out in the suburbs if we have people in the cities right now who want to work but have no way to get to those jobs. >> hannity then came out and said this. >> this is what so-called unbiased journalists have been trying to hide for years, a glimpse into the mind of the real barack obama. and it's one that all americans need to pay close attention to. >> did journalists hide that? our research shows they did not. we dug into cnn's archives and found references in our coverage to the portion of the speech where obama talks about new orleans. this was on paula zahn's program the night before the speech. >> now nearly two years after
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hurricane katrina hit new orleans, obama insists our country still ignores communities that are impoverished and without hope. >> and lou dobbs now with fox business channel said this on his cnn program the night of the speech. >> senator obama says tensions are mounting because there are still black people in this country displaced almost two years after hurricane katrina. >> there's also a cnn.com story saying obama criticized the bush administration for neglecting new orleans. it was the conservative website the daily collar that did the story tuesday on the obama speech. the right leaning internet gossip matt drudge touted the report and hannity brought on the daily caller's tucker carlson to talk about how the media ignored parts of the speech. we were told carlson couldn't speak to us on camera because of his deal with fox and couldn't speak on background because of scheduling. we showed the clips of cnn's coverage of obama's new orleans remarks to vince who wrote the story.
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it seems to be mentioned by people at cnn and elsewhere the ad libbed remarks. >> the sound of him saying that is all more newsworthy. it deserves to be played so the american public can hear it. >> reporter: in the article the daily caller says it obtained video of the obama speech exclusively. but that obama speech was widely covered and circulated. we got the entire speech from our affiliate w.a.v.y., used portions then and stored it in our library. when i challenged vince about that he said it was more like the daily caller exclusively shared it with the broader audience. it's true media outlets only reported on obama's prepared remarks and some of his strongest rhetoric ad libbed was not widely reported. conservative media is also saying this clip wasn't add kwa kwetly covered. >> please everybody give welcome to my pastor -- >> in 2007 nobody knew who
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jeremiah wright was. it didn't set off any alarm bells. in 2008 when some of his anti-american sermons became public, that was a big media story. >> howard kurt says overall it is interesting to hear what obama said in that 2007 speech but that his language was not inflammatory enough to make it into a big story. he says this was not a mainstream media cover-up. we tried repeatedly to get fox news channel and sean hannity to respond to our findings on the media coverage of the obama speech. we've not heard back yet, wolf. >> i remember when we covered that speech five years ago. now, you know there are some out there who are immediately accusing the romney campaign of effectively being behind this decision to go ahead and publicize once again what happened five years ago. >> it's been on twitter and a lot of social media, but the romney campaign has sent us a statement saying it had nothing to do with the new reporting on the obama speech. so far we found no evidence that it had anything to do with it. >> brian todd, thanks very, very much for that. for months both presidential
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candidates have been sparring over the facts. who's actually telling the truth? we have new details coming in.
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here at cnn we'll be fact checking what both candidates say later tonight in the debate. even though for months now they've been accusing each other of not telling the truth. watch this. >> i think that the president's campaign has focused its advertising in many cases on very inaccurate portrayals of my positions. >> they can run the campaign that they want. but the truth of the matter is you can't just make stuff up. >> the cover of the new "time" magazine is called the fact wars. who is telling the truth?
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joining us to talk about it is "time" magazine white house correspondent michael sherer. michael, thanks very much for coming in. both of these campaigns i take it have put out some less than truthful ads for example. how bad of a problem is this in your reporting? >> it's bad. i mean, some of the major claims made in the most run advertising in these swing states fact checkers have pretty unanimously said just aren't accurate. the issue here is that campaigns can get away with this stuff. both candidates have made their own ability to tell the truth, sort of a central part of their own character story. and yet their campaign ks go out and say things that aren't exactly true. while we in the media call them on it, there's not much consequence shown from voters. partisans on both sides tend to forgive their own candidate for deceptions they tell and get more upset about the other candidate, the other team
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misleading the public about their record. >> is it worse than usual? because i've covered a lot of campaigns over the years. there have been a lot of junk that's thrown out over the years. >> it's a really hard question to answer. certainly not worse than 1988 campaign which was in a lot of ways a low water mark for truth telling. what has changed is that the media now makes fact checking a central part of its coverage. so there is a little bit of attention that comes whenever a politician steers off track. the best example of that is paul ryan's acceptance speech at the republican convention. that said these candidates are both doing it and the campaigns are both doing it with abandon and not backing down. once they're called on -- for example, obama has romney being supporting abortion even in cases of incest and rape, but those ads kept running long after the press called them out on it. >> you have a quote in the article from glenn kesz ler, who
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does a fact check for "the washington post." he said he was confronted by someone from a super pac after he declared something to be untrue. and the quote from him says "i actually don't give a hoot what you say because these ads work." is that the theory behind running some of these ads that include these factual distortions? >> yeah, absolutely. i mean, these are very carefully chosen factual distortions that are shown in focus groups in polling before it goes out and tracked once the ad goes out and they work. they work even with the pushback that comes. the super pac issue is a different one. super pac ads tend to be less honest than candidate ads and that's because there's less of a reputational risk. if a group called americans for a better tomorrow or whatever are running an ad that says something that's not true, the public's not really going to hold that group to account because the group for all intents and purposes doesn't really exist. the candidates still have a sort of greater cost if they do come
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out and mislead the public. >> it's the cover story in the new issue of "time" magazine entitled the fact wars. there you see the cover right there. michael, thanks for coming in. >> thank you. top supporters of both mitt romney and the president, they are standing by live for our strategy session. bill burton and jason chaffetz, they're coming up next. you're not using too much are you, hon? ♪ nope. [ female announcer ] charmin ultra soft is so soft you'll have to remind your family they can use less. charmin ultra soft is made with extra cushions that are soft and more absorbent. plus you can use four times less versus the leading value brand. don't worry, there's plenty left for you dad. we all go. why not enjoy the go with charmin ultra soft?
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>> looking directly into that camera. let's discuss in our strategy session what's going on. joining us the democratic strategist, former white house deputy press secretary bill burton, the co-founder of the pro-obama super pac priorities usa action. also joining us a top advocate for governor mitt romney, republican congressman jason chaffetz of utah. thanks very much, guys, for coming in. let me go through some quick questions, quick answers and get your thoughts off the top. bill, i'll start with you. what is mitt romney's biggest strength going into the debate tonight? >> well, i think the biggest strength is that he's up against a president who is in a tough economic climate. and i would say second is that he's the most rehearsed debate -- the most rehearsed candidate ever before a presidential debate. >> what is president obama's biggest strength, congressman? >> he's got that big smile. but other than that, look, he's a very charming person. there's reason why he became
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the president of the united states. but it's going to be a good debate. >> what are you worried about, bill, the most as far as president obama is concerned? >> well, as you know, i worked for president obama for a long time. and i love the guy. but he does have this reputation for sometimes speaking in paragraphs and not in sound bites. in this kind of venue, sound bites are the thing that's important. so i think that any obama supporter who really loves the president is a little worried that maybe sometimes he may speak longer than the evening news and the morning news the next day is able to cover in full. >> as someone who's moderated four debates with him can testify to that. congressman, to you, what's the biggest weakness governor romney has. i've moderated four debates with him as well. >> there's so much material to attack the president on -- >> no. not the president. romney's biggest weakness. >> well, i think part of the challenge is how do you
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succinctly get to that and at the same time when you only have 90 seconds or 120 seconds to answer a question then also be able to share your vision and your compassion to the voters that are watching at home. to be able to contrast the president's record and his vision, share with that in a compassionate way, that's challenging to do in 120 seconds. >> here's a big challenge that the president has, bill. look at this. likely voters we asked who will win the presidential debate? 56% said the president. 32% said romney. there are huge expectations for the president to crush mitt romney in this debate tonight. and sometimes those expectations are lacking. >> there are very big expectations. and even though the president always shows up when he needs to show up and gets ready for game day, you know, you hope that expectations aren't so far out of whack with what reality is.
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which is that this is going to be 90 minutes of two guys on stage explaining their vision for the country. there may not be a knock down punch and doesn't sound like the president is focused just on zingers like mitt romney is. so i don't know that the president is quite as well positioned as the polls would suggest. but i think it will make for some pretty good tv. >> how do you deal with that expectations game, congressman? >> hey, look, the president of the united states, you can't lower expectations on that. i hope mitt romney will do well. if mitt romney is just mitt romney, i think he's going to be exceptionally well. he's compassionate, he's focused. he's in command of the facts. and i think just the very fact of seeing them mono y mono next to each other, you'll see romney elevated and people will catch a vision that this man, mitt romney, could and should be the next president of the united states. >> here's what the former president bill clinton said on the campaign trail today. bill, listen closely. i want you to respond. here's bill clinton in new hampshire. >> the only reason this is a
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race is that we're americans, we're impatient, we want things fixed the day before yesterday. and the economy's not fixed. >> all right. what do you think about that message that he was delivering to the voters in new hampshire? >> i think that's a corner -- >> i think he's spot-on. >> let's let bill go first and then congressman chaffetz. >> sorry. >> i think that's a cornerstone of the american dna that we are impatient as a people. that's why we've been able to make such progress and been able to make such leaps as a country. so i think that as president clinton said during the convention there's not one president who could have gotten us out of the mess that president obama inherited four years ago. and the question is do we want to stay on this path where we've created over five million jobs in this recovery and turned the economy around from one declining to one that's growing? or do we want to go back to the same ideas that mitt romney has that got us into this mess in the first place. >> all right. congressman? >> that was spin at its best. the reality is president obama
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has failed to get this economy moving in the right direction. there are 23 million americans who are either underemployed or unemployed. the unemployment has been north of 8%. i don't think you have to convince the people of the united states of america that we're on the wrong track. what mitt romney has to do is convince them he has the solutions to get us back on track. that's the mitt romney i see and know. that's what i think will shine through tonight. >> i don't know if both of you are watching brian todd's report. all of a sudden a speech that then-senator barack obama delivered five years ago in hampton, virginia, has become a big issue among some conservative bloggers out there. conservative television, if you will. certainly on the drudge report. earlier today stephanie cutter, the deputy campaign manager for the obama campaign was on cnn. and she said she thinks "allies to mitt romney are responsible for reviving this videotape." let me let jason chaffetz, you're very close to the romney
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campaign, what do you think about that? >> i don't think that has any truth at all. i don't think mitt romney's going to win this election because of what barack obama said as candidate obama. i think he can look just at his record over the last four years and paint a vision of where mitt romney wants to take the country. and that will be make mitt romney victorious, not some video seven years old or something like that. >> it was five years old. >> five years old. >> when you saw that videotape, bill, i'm sure you took a look at it once again over the past 24 hours and you heard the president speaking about his former pastor, the reverend jeremiah wright. did it make you feel squeamish? what did you think when all of a sudden we're hearing about reverend wright? >> no. look. that's an issue that was litigated and talked about very specifically for a good period of time during the '08 cycle. so i think the american people have made up their minds of who president obama is, what kind of ideas he has about what our country is and where he wants to
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take it. so i don't think that people will want to relitigate that. the notion that mitt romney's campaign had nothing to do with this i find lacking credibility. when you consider the closeness that matt drudge has to the romney campaign, it's hard to imagine a scenario where there was not some sort of conversation or collusion or even the handoff of the video which is five years old to matt drudge knowing that many people in the media would be led around by matt drudge and cover something they'd already covered five years ago. >> just to be precise, the daily caller website is the one that posted the video, that's tucker carlson's website. it was then linked by drudge. but the original story, the revival of it came from the daily caller, not from the drudge report, bill. >> but drudge knew about it even before it was published. >> how do you know that? >> i think the odds that drudge wasn't involved -- well, he
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posted on the drudge report. >> but he posts a lot of stuff from other websites on his drudge report. >> he sure does. that's the whole point of the drudge report. >> let me just let congressman chaffetz respond quickly if you want to say anything about this. >> no. look, mitt romney's going to become the next president of the united states because he's going to help turn around this country and get our economy back on track. and he's going to spend 90 minutes talking about that with the president of the united states tonight. it's going to be a good debate. if everybody sees what i see in mitt romney, there's no doubt in my mind he'll be the next president. >> guys, appreciate it very much. jason chaffetz, bill burton, we'll watch the debate together with you. we'll have much more coverage obviously ahead leading up to tonight's debate. president obama, governor romney face-to-face as american voters weigh their choice. the first presidential debate takes place later tonight. you can watch it live. our coverage will begin right after "the situation room" 7:00 p.m. eastern on cnn and on cnn.com. using stand-ins for the
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other guy. we're going to talk with a man playing president obama for mitt romney about how the candidate's rehearsed every possible scenario, at least they think so, for tonight's debate. i'm barack obama and i approve this message. romney: "it's time to stand up to the cheaters" vo: tough on china? not mitt romney. when a flood of chinese tires threatened a thousand american jobs...
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it was president obama who stood up to china and protected american workers. mitt romney attacked obama's decision... said standing up to china was "bad for the nation and our workers." how can mitt romney take on the cheaters... when he's taking their side?
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the impressions the candidates make in tonight's presidential debate could prove crucial in a very close race. they've rehearsed a lot of various scenarios using stand-ins for the so-called other guy. let's bring in our senior congressional correspondent dana bash. you've spent time with rob portman who's been playing president obama for mitt romney in the practice debate sessions. portman takes the job very seriously, doesn't he? >> he takes it very seriously. and by all accounts he's really
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good at it. that's why republican candidates for the past decade plus have been asking him to play the role of the democratic candidate in these mock debates. and, you know, he does -- what he does to prepare he told me isn't just read the books and read the policy papers and watch the video of the democratic candidate so he can embody them and understand their policy prescriptions, he also looks at what their body language is like. because a big part of what these mock debates are all about is not only preparing in this case mitt romney to make sure he has his lines right, but also to make sure that he knows what's coming at him from in this case president obama. so when it comes to what mitt romney says but also what he does and how he acts and reacts. and that is a very interesting -- brings up a very interesting story that rob portman told me about his experience in the past with this. watch this. >> you have to figure out how they're likely to express themselves, what the body language is going to be like.
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>> reporter: portman learned that in 2000 getting ready to play al gore by watching his debate tapes. >> he got kind of physical. he sort of stood up like this. and bill bradley is a big guy, but al gore got in his face. so in the debate perhaps with governor george w. bush i did that. and governor bush's reaction was of course he's not going to do that. that's ridiculous. >> but can you get things done? >> but that's exactly what gore did. >> and i believe i can. >> did he actually practice the nod? or did you just -- >> no. he didn't take it seriously. i think the point is governor bush was ready for it. and that was not a high point for vice president gore. >> now, that's an example, wolf, of being prepared mentally or psychologically. and for these candidates that's almost as important as being ready substantively.
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>> dana's exclusive interview with air during our special debate coverage. it all starts right after "the situation room" 7:00 p.m. eastern. by the way, you can also hear jessica yellin's interview with senator john kerry about president obama's debate preparations. senator kerry playing mitt romney in all the debate preparation. 7:00 p.m. eastern our special coverage begins right here on cnn and cnn.com. when you take a closer look... ...at the best schools in the world... ...you see they all have something very interesting in common. they have teachers... ...with a deeper knowledge of their subjects. as a result, their students achieve at a higher level.
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angry protests erupt on the streets of iran. lisa silvester is monitoring that. what's going on? >> police surrounded police of demonstrators today, they're blaming ahmadinejad for leaving families struggling. he says he has taken a hit because of the enemy sanctions. iran says it will never surrender to international pressures. and a slow down for private sector hiring that added just 62,000 jobs in september. in a report released today. the number was higher than forecasted, but far lower than august numbers. the government's official job
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report number is due out on friday. and a junior hockey player doers a goal, and then in the excitement plunges through the glass. >> good thing he had all of that padding on. >> what is president obama's biggest challenge tonight. i will ask stephanie kuter who is coming up in our next hour. (train horn) vo: wherever our trains go, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern. one line, infinite possibilities.
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jack is back with the cafferty file. >> what will be the october surprise in this year's presidential election? tony says it could be obama
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releasing the dead photos of osama bin laden to remind people. mark says it could be obama's speech in 2007. if the mainstream media had vetted this individual, we would have been spared his incompetence. romney tweets "i knew i should not have released my taxes." can you wake me when it's over? >> timothy says obama takes out the al qaeda elements responsible for the recent deaths in libya. michael says the only october surprise for me will be if romney can keep his foot out of his mouth for the whole month. pete in georgia says maybe we'll learn america wasn't born in
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mark after all, but rather on mars. you want to read more about this, go to the blog. you can also go to our facebook page. >> jack, thank you. i'm not going to exploit for political purposes, my opponents youth and inexperience. >> is this a time to unleash our one liners. >> that answer was about as clear as boston harbor. >> we're in the grip of a failed economic theory, and this decision better be abouthat kind of economic theory you want. >> i have to answer this. tell tony blair we're going, it hurts an alliance. >> i don't understand how we ended up invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. >> this is cnn. >> i'm wolf blitzer, and you're
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in the situation room. all eyes are on denver tonight and the first debate between mitt romney and president obama now just under three hours away. a critical contest for both men. cnn's national correspondent getting details of romney's game plan. >> romney officials say they will not score a knock out punch tonight. hin instead they will talk about his handling of the economy. do no harm, and live to fight another day. just a few hours before one of the most important nights of his political life, mitt romney walked through the debate sight in denver and prepped from his debate against the president. his game plan for tonight is to
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provide a clear choice, talk about his plan to create jobs, and contrast that with the president's performance on the economy. in a sign of caution, the campaign says romney will not be looking for a knock out punch. one of his top surrogates, marco rubio says that's the right approach. >> does romney need a knock out punch? >> no, it's a debate between two men. it's about domestic issues, i'm excited about that. >> all day long, the romney campaign signaled hay would go after a gaffe by joe biden. >> how they can justify raising taxes on the middle class that's been buried the last four years. >> in the richest country in the history of the world, this obama economy has crushed the middle class. >> romney's ad team kweekly
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sei -- quickly seized on the remarks. >> those are the words of the distinguished vice president of the united states, mr. joe biden. >> don't boo, he is the best thing we got going, guys. in a brief moment of clarity, he told us what we already knew. >> they say they expect him to call on the gop. the president has repeatedly said that he has not said how he will do it. but in an interview with a denver tv station, romney began to do just that. >> you could say everybody will get up to a $17,000 deduction, and you canchartible deduction, or mortgage
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deduction. >> romney officials will not say if they are one-liners saved up for tonight, but they say it will not be difficult to go after the president on the economy. translation, wolf, i think that means we'll have to wait and see what happens tonight. meanwhile, the romney campaign, or a romney family member has tried to take romney supporters out there and the rest of americans looking forward to tonight's debate inside the romney campaign debate preparations between mitt romney and rob portman, the ohio senator playing the roll of president obama. he tweeted out a picture earlier today of the two men in debate preparations earlier today. >> you think we'll get more details from mitt romney tonight on his tax program, direction? a little bit as you just mentioned, but do you think it's going to more specifics? i assume the president will challenge him on that. >> that's right. the romney campaign did not say whether or not he was going to go into specifics, but that is the first time we heard mitt
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romney put a number on all of this. for months, he has been telling reporters he would like to wait until he got into the oval office and work with congress on a frame work for limiting deductions, but you heard a lot of republicans, and people challenge mitt romney and say wait, how can we elect this man if we will not talk about how he will pay for those tax cuts. so it's possible we may get more of those details tonight, and what we saw in that interview was a preview. >> jim, thanks very much. we're also learning what we can expect to a certain degree from president obama tonight. jessica yellin is also in denver. what's the game plan for the president as far as we know? >> hi, wolf. the president has already arrived for the debate hall, and is relaxes at his hotel. wolf, you would be hard pressed not to pick up on their signals that no matter what happens
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tonight, it's likely they will claim mitt romney was short on details. >> the obama campaign's latest expectations game, questioning whether romney will share enough specifics about his policy proposals. >> his details have been lacking. >> and preparing voters for the president to use every opportunity to press for them. >> if mitt romney attacks the president and challenges some of the facts, i think you can expect the president to lay out some of the facts of his own policies and also mitt romney's policies. >> in a memo, the campaign spelled out five areas the president could call for me details tonight. balancing the budge, small business growth, energy indefense, improving schools, and trade agreements. >> romney is a good debater. i'm just okay. >> that was before days of
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debate plep. this afternoon, the president's team is challenging governor romney's newly revealed detail that he would give everyone a 17,000 tax deduction. in a post, they claim that policy would raise taxes for millions of middle class americans insisting here is the problem. many families deduct more than $17,000 now. but we all know likeability often matters more than details on these nights. he coaches bill clinton for his 1996 debates. >> there's a need for them to drop the veneer, and seem to be real people in this context, and the balancing act is between that and also being a leader, being strong, because the country is looking for that, especially from an incumbent president. >> a lot of competing pressures on the president tonight on both men, wolf, but the obama campaign already hammering on
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that one $17,000 tax deduction that the romney campaign is pushing. the obama campaign has one footnote on their website saying average taxpayers who make between $100,000 to $200,000, they can deduct just for their home mortgages alone. that's the level of detail they're pushes. so we could be in for a pretty wonky night this evening, wolf. >> on a very different note, you had an excluive interview with the first lady of the united states. we will air that interview during our coverage leading up to the debate tonight, it's very excellent. today is the their 20th wedding anniversary. they're double dating with the romneys as you like to say. >> that's right, i asked the first lady if this is how he
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imagined she would be spending her 20th wedding anniversary, and she said it definitely is not. she gets very nervous and feels like she is a mom watching her kid on the balance beam when the president is debating. there's a lot more she has to say. i asked her about ann romney and the campaign. >> we look forward to that full interview. also to gloria's interview with ann romney. stay with cnn for those interviews. kate baldwin is here in the situation room, monitoring a developing story right now with potentially significant national security ramifications. >> that's right, we want to bring our viewers up to date. very disturbing developments. five feel were killed. they came from syrian forces. they reponded by firing targets
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in syria after informing them. the pentagon is watching the cross border attacks with some degree of concern. military officials don't believe it's going to become a broader conflict. syria and turkey have serious consequences. tension has been increasing and ramping up since the start of the syrian war. and nato issued a statement saying that they stan with turkey. >> this is really significant, because turkey is a major ally. and the treaty says that an attack by one country on any ally is an attack on all of the nato allies. so if the syrian regime, and the military get carried away. they're not only going to face the wrath of this in turkey, but also of others -- >> yes, another thing adding to that terrible situation.
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>> the romney campaign is seizing on remarks by the middle class. is the vice president the best thing to happen to republicans in the white house race, i will speak more about that with the deputy manager, stephanie cutter. standing by to join us live from denver. yummy, scrumptious bars. hmm? i just wanted you to eat more fiber. chewy, oatie, gooeyness... and fraudulence. i'm in deep, babe. you certainly are. [ male announcer ] fiber one. [ male announcer ] how do you turn an entrepreneur's dream... ♪ into a scooter that talks to the cloud? ♪ or make 70,000 trades a second... ♪ reach one customer at a time? ♪ how do you help doctors turn billions of bytes
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roadrunner: meep meep. meep meep? (sfx: loud thud sound) what a strange place. geico®. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. president obama known for his speaking skilling, but that doesn't mean he won't have challenges tonight when he faces off with mitt romney. let's talk about that and with the campaign manager. stephanie, thank you for coming in. what do you think the biggest challenge the president has tonight is? >> well, wolf, i think it's probably keeping his answers short, being concise, staying within the time limits. he has a lot he wants to say,
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and he has to stay in the constraints of the agreement. he is really looking forward to this, looking forward to continuing that conversation he has been having with the american people, speaking to them in their living rooms, about where we're going to go in a second obama administration. he is very much looking forward to this. >> you have been pressing the romney campaign for specifics, today we got one specifics suggesting maybe there would be a cap on deductio at $17,000 for mortgage interest deductions, charitable contributions, that's a pretty specific number, what do you think about that? >> i think that the net result is still the same. that is specific, but he has not told us how he will do that without raising taxes on the middle class. even if you're capping deductions, separating them into different buckets with different caps on them. you're still raising taxes on the middle class.
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even his own economists that he relies on says you can't cut taxes by $5 trillion out paying for it by cutting deductions for people making $200,000 and less. that's just a fact. you can't do it. even if you close every single deduction for people making over $200,000, or $250,000 for families, you're still a trillion short. so he has to tell us how he will do this without increasing taxes on the middle class. so far the math does not add up. >> vice president biden said they have been buried. and they are jumping all over this, listen here to senator marco rubio. >> those are not my words. those happen to be the words of the distinguished vice president of the united states, mr. joe
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biden. don't boo, he is the best thing we have going, guys. don't boo. because in a moment of clarity, in a brief moment of clarity, he said what we knew. >> gaffe or no gaffe, and you will tell me it's not, isn't it still a problem for the president? >> no. you know, i heard senator rubio, and i heard the romney surrogates all day talking about that. you're right, they're really good at jumping at these out of context markets. we see how well the "you didn't build that" attack worked out for them. on this example, what i don't get is why they don't agree with us that the middle class bored the brunt of the economic crisis. there should be no doubt about that. they bore the brunt. not just of what happened when we came into office, but a
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decades of policies that left them behind. so, we would be happy to have this debate. i hope it comes up tonight. because the president has pursued everything he has done every the last four years with the vice president at his side. it has been to ensure that we can put security back on the table for the middle class, the security they lost over the last decade. >> but stephanie, does it still work to continue blaming the bush administration for what the obama administration was handed? don't republicans have a winning argument if you keep talking about what was handed to this president? >> well, i think the american people would disagree with you, kate. any poll that you look at, they understand why we are in the situation that we're in. it didn't happen overnight, and we're not going to get out of it overnight. but they understand what the president has done over the last four years to rebuild this economy in a way that's meant to last.
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from the middle out, not the top down. they happen to be the same policies that we will hear from mitt romney tonight that he wants to return to. it's not about blame, it's about learning what not to do. that's part of the conversation that we'll have tonight. we should not go back to the days where we have tax cuts for those at the top paid for by those of the middle class. we should not go back to the days where wall street gets to write it's own rules and taxpayers are on the hook for another bailout. >> why do you think, stephanie, the polls are tightening up rather dramatically in florida and virginia. i will put them on the screen, virginia, baobama 48%. and in florida, 47% and 46%. what's going on here? >> that's just one poll.
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i think there are other polls out there that shows that gap wider. let's face it, we always said that up until election day, this race is going to remain tight. there are other states in the same nbc poll where that gap is widening. we feel good about where we are in making our argument and playing out the president's record and where he wants to take this country. i think under any scenario, this will remain tight to the very end, and we always predicted that. >> stephanie, we'll check back with you after the debate later tonight. thank you for coming in. >> thank you. >> earlier by the way we spoke to rudy giuliani who supports mitt romney. stay with us, we're getting closer and closer to the start of our special coverage of debate night in america, it starts right here on the situation rook. >> also still ahead, history made on the baseball field by a
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much more coming up here in the situation room. on the lead off to the first presidential debate, stand by, new information coming in, other news we're following as well including the worst year for west nile virus in almost a decade, kate is monitoring that.
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what do you have, kate? >> the centers for disease control anprevention they that more cases have been reported this year, the most since 2003. it's blamed for the deaths of 263 people. texas, california, louisiana, mississippi, south dakota, michigan, oklahoma have had the most cases. the fbi is using social media to find a man who is a wanted terrorist. they are searching for a man who grew up near boston and may live now in syria. he was indicted in twine after taking trips to afghanistan. and history was made today.
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for the first time ever, teddy roosevelt won in the president's race. he has a 500 plus losing streak that was legendary. it came from after a pep talk from senator john mccain. >> i'm fully aware that you're the victim of a left-wing conspiracy. you can overcome that. you're the rough rider. you're the man in the arena, you can do it, teddy, i know you can do it. the nats are there, and you're going to lead them teddy, and you're going to win. >> how can he lose after that pep talk. as you know, it's uncharted winning territory for teddy and the nationals. the nats return to the playoffs for the first time since 1993. >> i have been to so many games
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where teddy loses. >> give him your favorite line, wolf. >> #nattitude. coming up, expectations, who has it harder to achieve their expectations. our political experts are standing by to weigh in.ti was about...i would say... two months ago. i very rarely put gas in my chevy volt. i go to the gas station such a small amount that i forget how to put gas in my car. [ male announcer ] and it's not just these owners giving the volt high praise. volt received the j.d. power and associates appeal award two years in a row. ♪
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only half ahour away leading up to our presidential debate. anderson cooper is joining us now, welcome anderson. >> thank you, it's going to be a very exciting night tonight. who has the most to win here tonight? is it mitt romney would you say? >> i think so, mitt romney for
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the first time gets to stand on a stage with the president of the united states. >> just by doing that, he's elevated to a great degree. i think secondly, the expectations for him are lower. our poll shows that most people by a large margin believe the president will win this debate. what he has to do is put meat on the bones of his proposals. and look like a suitable replacement. he has to look like the person that might replace him. >> this will be the biggest night of the campaign. everything rised on this. yes, it is a big, big night for mitt romney. can he transform this race and turn it upside down. he has been behind for years.
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can he change the dynamie nayna the race. he as the possibility to open the race up, and that will help him a lot. if he can get a victory in november, it will be enormous leverage in the months to come and the new thunderstorm. >> i want to bring in more panel. does mitt romney need to go on the aggressive, on the offensive tonight? >> sure, this is a debate, this is a contest, a primitive thing we do as a culture. we don't know the challenge that the president will get, but we know he will get something we can't imagine. so we want to test them and their character and how do they respond under pressure. and yes, they will test each other in that arena, but it's especially important for mitt romney, because he does want to look obama in the eye and say tell us how you will make the
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country better. >> does he need to come off mean, or as a warm guy that understands what people are going through. >> it will be tough for these men to be anything different than what we have seen in the past years. the best thing for both of them is to be authentic. this is not a night to be warm and lovey. demonstrate your stature. how you will make things different from the last. >> the overwhelming possibility is both of them will do fine. they're both smart guys, they both had a long time to prepare. the moderator is an honest down the line guy, and i hope something else happens and it's exciting and they go after each other and they follow-up up and we have a lot to talk about, but in the end, the overwhelming possibility is they get up, speak good english, answer questions well. >> is that enough for mitt romney? >> you know, i think with
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romney, he can try too hard. what he needs to do is be willing to take another look at him. if he can accomplish that, and it's 90 minutes. he has 180 after tonight. a small deliver of people he needs to influence. where he can go wrong if he tries to go too hard and tries to accomplish too much tonight. i cannot back to the overwhelming possibility that they both do fine. >> when you heard that he is preparing zingers, did that make you nervous? >> i don't think zingers are mitt romney's style. people smell inauthenticity a mile away. i hope the winner is the american people. i don't mean to sound corner. i hope people watching at the end of the 90 minutes what is
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the difference between these two. what mitt romney needs to do is explain how his policies will help more people. >> isn't it late in the game? >> i think frankly most of this campaign has been slinging slogans back and forth. i don't think there has been a lot of detail from either candidate about why they think they're policies will work, and i hope that mitt romney will challenge president obama's track record just as president obama has challenged mitt romney's track record. >> those of us that live and breathe this stuff, we have been hanging on every word. there was summer vacation for a lot of people, they were not paying attention, so this is the beginning for a lot of people. 50 million people are going to watch. one thin i think is very interesting, though. the obama campaign did everything it could to try and reduce expectations. he has a day job, has to run the
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country, it didn't work. the expectations are sky high because of the kind of president that -- i love it when the hype is big and the game is on the line, that's obama. despite all of the efforts to meet expectations -- >> he has not had a debate since 2008 though. >> that's what we're pointing out, he is rusty, has not done that for awhile. >> nobody believes it because of who he is. >> president of the united states, you have to game up and play. that's insane. he has to do well. and how do you know the zinger thing is not a head fake. how do you know they're not just telling the press that. >> hold on, one at a time. >> why would that be a head fake? why would they release that. >> i talked to a senior advisor. and i said what's all of this zinger stuff. >> he said i don't know where
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that's coming from, every candidate has a couple of lines in their back pocket. >> isn't it like aomedian saying i have a great routine. >> his worst moments in all of those primary debates, were the awkward moments when something happened that he didn't quite anticipate, and he put his arm on rick perrys shoulder, $10,000 bet, what they're trying to do is anticipate everything so that mitt romney doesn't get a situation where he is feeling uncomfortable because he is not good at that. >> president obama is a man of words, he is very good at words, let's establish that. >> you're right, it's just like a comedian saying i want to tell you a joke, and it deflates the joke. it doesn't have any spontaneity to it. i'm going to tell you a really
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funny joke. >> i disagree with one thing. i think both will come out well, but i think a tie goes to the president. >> i think -- i don't know with the voters, but i think the press, the people here, i think romney -- i understand what you're saying politically, but i think it's like sarah palin and biden, she got through and everybody said she did well. >> don't you think it's up to romney to tell -- >> i just want to say that clearly tonight, both candidates are the underdogs. who knows, there's room for both. but there is a difference between a zinger, which is what small campaigns think of their own candidate when they think he's small, but you want to demonstrate strength, and saying this is howly lead the country, those are the moments i paid for this microphone, and it can change the debate. >> mitt romney is closing the gap, it's getting closer in major swing states.
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all right, these are live pictures coming in from the university of denver, the debate hall. this is where the presidential debate will take place, we're all counting down to that. the gap is closing between mitt romney and obama between some of the key battleground states. we have a special analyst downing us as well. >> wolf, with the race tightening, one of the most colorful democrats in the country is with me. we're going into the first debate, five weeks left until the election. the dominant foe does will be the economy.
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with mitt romney win this election. i know you want the president to win, but can mitt romney win if he is tied with the president. who would do a better job with the economy? right now he is tied. in a debate, you're a good debater, what does mitt romney have to do to change that number? >> mitt romney has run a race so far saying i'm not barack obama. that's not enough. people like barack obama and i think there is about an 8% differential in likeability. he has a big problem in ohio. the auto bailout. in ohio, michigan, and some other rust belt states, those car manufacturing jobs are important. >> you want to talk about ohio, here is the map right now. 191, you don't have to be a rocket scientist. you mentioned ohio. that is one of the battleground states right now where the president has a lead in most polls outside of the margin of
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error. >> it's slipping away. >> let's hypothetically give it to the president. no republican has ever won. we have to go back to abraham lincoln, ke had win this election? >> i think florida will go for romney, i think north carolina will go for romney, and let's go out west, i am the only governor in america that is a graduate -- >> it's at tight as can be, but obama is going to win. >> you're convinced? >> yes. i'm going to give nevada to romney. >> highest unemployment. >> and the houses are upside down, and that's going to go with romney, iowa, obama. >> you think obama? >> again out there, the republicans have evened the registration divide, but --
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>> michigan, the ryan bump does not exist. >> if you give that, the president is reelected. the president is like six points, but -- >> he wins. >> and virginia is a toss up, we'll give it to romney. >> new hampshire has gotten away -- >> you're giving that to the president too? >> so you have him at 284 with virginia a question mark. >> i don't know. >> let's give it to romney. >> if you give it to him, it's still a convincing win. this is what confounds a lot of republicans, he says why is romney not doing better here. they also say look at this, if you look at this historically, this is the first three quarters of gdp in the reelection years. george h.w. bush had growth, but people did not buy it. bill clinton has a big quarter, george w. bush got through what was a pretty struggling economy,
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but president obama's first two quarters, dismal compared even to 2004. how is this president even in play? >> because the american people are smarter than some folks give them credit for, they know we went off the fiscal cliff. they know when lehman brothers went broke, they were looking at each other all over the country and the world saying is my bank going to be open tomorrow? some people believe in the economy. people are reinvesting, and people are more opt mistiimisti. they don't want to go back to the policies that got us here. they think obama has a bedder idea than romney right now, and they like obama more than they like romney. it's about an 8% difference. >> that is something we will watch tonight, and you saw the governor's optimistic take there for the president.
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governor romney needs to change that. >> is it true that those who are still undecided normally break for the challenger because they don't know the challenger as well as opposed to the incumbent. everybody knows the president of the united states. the undecided at this late moment might break for romney? >> yes, that is a possibility. we might have the first election since just a few elections ago that the popular vote goes to the person that loses. these targeted battleground states looks like obama will carry the day, but he may not win the popular vote. >> that would be this election you're talking about. >> this one, 48-48. >> you know how that one turned out. we had to wait awhile. >> let us hope the supreme court does not decide this election. >> guys, thanks very much. it's not just the words that often matter on debate night, body language says a lot as well. up next, the signs to watch for
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only one winner in this debate and only by what the candidates say, but what they don't say as well. john is here with some details
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and specifically, how important would body language be? >> everyone says it's very important. this will just be the fourth time these men have met. what will they look like side by side? there are so many questions. obama versus romney by the numbers. mitt romney, barack obama. two men, 90 minutes, one goal. win. just like mad max beyond thunderdome. yes, they'll talk jobs, health care, immigration. but is it only what they say to them? >> no, that's absolutely not. generally speaking, the non-verbal communication that's going on will be very important. >> obama, 6", 180 pounds. obama, age 51. romney, 65. but doctors say appears younger than his age. his heart rate, a cool 40.
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obama, 56. between their ears, both educated at elite prep schools. both with harvard law degrees, romney has an mba, too, for extra measure. smart, fit, focused men, but expect different physical signals. the president's message -- >> in charge. in charge, ready to go. things are not happening by accident. things have been deliberate. and he has a plan and he has the conviction that that's the best plan. >> the goal, calm confidence. but to avoid -- >> he purses his lips while nervous. maybe looks down. gathers his thoughts. it may be a signal he's nervous. romney tends to get argument
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ive. ing i thi ing. >> for romney, the goal may be warm smile, kind eye, open posture. avoid ko avoid condescending. >> he's got to make that connection if people are going to trust him and give him their te. >> and remember this about debates. whatever the mission, there may be mayhem. all that is certain, two will enter. one will leave victorious. >> when they shake hands, these two haven't met for years. >> we'll be watching all of that. you just hear it on the radio, you have to watch. >> and watch it on cnn. >> thank you very much. we're only minutes away from our special coverage of tonight's face-off between president obama and governor romney. stand by. debate night in america is about to begin. so... [ gasps ]
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politicians are known for flip-flopping and it's sometimes not what they say, but how they say it. here's jeanne moos. >> same president -- >> the obama presidency. >> two different accents. >> i'm the son of a black man. >> where's your dollar? >> i can no more disown him. >> that made me cringe. >> that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. >> what seems especially jarring to some conservative ears is that the president's speech changes when he addresses an african-american audience. >> the falseness here is overwhelming. >> but some say the false would have been if the president didn't change his speech, especially considering he's african-american. >> that audience would say, huh,
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what makes him such a stuffed shirt. >> but some are attacking president obama's delivery. >> he went into preaching mode. >> for instance, when al gore addressed the naacp. >> racism is is hundreds of years long! >> what critics call pandering. >> got too many daddies not aktding like daddies. >> they call accommodating. >> we find is switching back and forth to be pretty natural, pretty automatic and very often outside the conscious control of the speaker. >> but accommodating is harder to pull off when it's not your natural dialect. romney seemed to realize that when he poked fun of himself talking southern. >> morning, y'all. good to be with you. >> hillary clinton was mocked as kentucky fried hillary when she went over the top at an african-american church. >> i've come too far from where
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i started from. >> or in this case -- ♪ i've come too far hillary was performing lines from a hymn made famous by james cleveland. what the politicians do is not to be confused with an actual medical condition that changed this woman's accent following a stroke from this -- >> i felt like i was going bloody crazy. >> for politicians acquiring an accent -- >> the miracle of acquiring an accent sometimes can't be overcome. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience. >> it's time to unleash our one liners. that answer was about as clear

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The Situation Room
CNN October 3, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PDT

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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